Superstorm Sandy Relief Environmental Assessment Services

Timely Reviews Boost Storm Recovery Along the New Jersey Coast

In October 2012, Superstorm Sandy ravaged the northeastern U.S. The state of New Jersey lost approximately $382 million in private commercial property, and officials estimated $29 billion in infrastructure damage.

As part of the federal government’s response, New Jersey was awarded $5.4 billion in aid appropriated through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)-Disaster Relief Program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). To proceed with the distribution of federal grant monies, the state was required to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for each affected property seeking assistance under the CDBG program.

Gannett Fleming provided environmental impact assessment services to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to complete the required environmental reviews for NEPA. The team met aggressive schedules and the program’s quality objectives while working under evolving state program management and review procedures.

What We Did

Focused on resiliency and recovery efforts, our team completed environmental reviews for more than 650 individual properties under the Sandy Recovery CDBG throughout New Jersey’s nine-county coastal area. The considerations involved resource assessments that addressed:

  • Air quality.
  • Threatened and endangered species.
  • Community effects.
  • Floodplain impacts.
  • Historic resources.
  • Hazardous materials.
  • Groundwater.
  • Vegetation.
  • Wetlands and surface water impacts.

Compliance and consistency with other state laws governing the consideration and protection of the environment were also addressed.

The work included categorical exclusions for the redevelopment, rehabilitation, and new construction of housing for residents displaced by the storm, as well as categorical exclusions and HUD floodplain analyses for the repair of an emergency operations center and other critical facilities. Our firm also reviewed infrastructure projects to address NEPA compliance, including:

  • A dune protection project.
  • The reconstruction of a damaged community park.
  • A critical municipal emergency operations facility renovation.
  • Economic revitalization efforts involving streetscape improvements.

Key Features

  • HUD administrative public information, including early and final wetland and floodplain activity notices, finding of no significant impact (FONSI) notices, notice of intent to request release of funds (NOI-RROF), notice development, and publication of public notices and advertisements in English- and Spanish-language channels.
  • Assessment services addressing explosive and flammable facilities, noise abatement and control, and site contamination, including asbestos and lead-based paint surveys.
  • Services for major business replacement projects, including an entertainment enterprise on the Seaside Heights Boardwalk and a major destination restaurant in Sea Bright Borough.
  • Completion of an environmental review record (ERR) for a historic property that required careful coordination with the applicant and extensive consulting services to address environmental and historic compliance.
OUTCOMES

Support for coastal resilience and recovery efforts.

National Environmental Policy Act compliance.

Crucial rehabilitation, redevelopment, and new construction.